By Dariel Garner for Popular Resistance. Imagine eating at a sumptuous private banquet every night that the whole society has paid for, while most people are too stressed from overwork and worry to do more than grab some fast food on the way home and others can only hope to find some moldy food in a dumpster. There is no fairness in that. No equality. No justice. Indeed, it is shameful. Recognizing that the wealth was created by the society, not by me, meant that I held riches that were not mine but belonged to the people and to the Earth. My first reaction was guilt, but all that did was make the thousand dollar bottles of wine go down faster. My second reaction was sorrow and eventually that made me change my life. I couldn’t go on as I had. I turned my back on wealth. I lost it, I spent it like water and finally I gave it all away. I have never been happier.
By Dariel Garner for Popular Resistance, For decades, the rich have made all the laws and regulations, chosen the judges and the regulators, and written the 76,000 page IRS Tax Code. Occasionally, we agree with the rich, but even when we agree with them, it is because their radio, television, books, movies and newspapers have shaped our thinking to their liking. As bleak as the situation is, there is great reason to have courage that change can happen. The ruling elite are learning that they must reform and the people are realizing their power. There are many ways that we can organize and refuse to cooperate with a system that is producing dizzying inequalities.’ The people are learning that deep systemic change is not made by voting for a single candidate or by waving flags in the streets, but by educating and building mass support, by creating new alternatives to the existing structures and by taking strategic coercive action such as boycotts, strikes, blockades, and literally hundreds of other kinds of nonviolent actions that withdraw the support of the people from the hurtful and unfair system.
By Martin Kirk and Alnoor Ladha for Truthout – Saying “everything is connected” is pretty popular these days. “Systems thinking” is the discipline du jour. Everyone, it seems, is becoming aware that the challenges we face do not stand alone. Climate change, for example, is not just about carbon emissions, but also about economics, race relations, patriarchy and power. There is no line of disconnect, except where we draw it with our minds. Simply saying that everything is connected doesn’t get you very far, though. The real challenge is to understand how.
By Chris Weller for Tech Insider. Finland and The Netherlands have already shown their interest in giving people a regular monthly allowance regardless of working status, and now Ontario, Canada, is onboard. Ontario’s government announced in February that a pilot program will be coming to the Canadian province sometime later this year. The premise: Send people monthly checks to cover living expenses such as food, transportation, clothing, and utilities — no questions asked. It’s a radical idea, and one that has been around since the 1960s. It’s called “basic income.” In the decades since it was first proposed, various researchers and government officials have given basic income experiments a try, with mixed results.
By Paul Buchheit for Nation of Change – The homeless are feared by the upper classes, and they’re often arrested for nonexistent or non-violent infractions, in good part because they are simply considered “offensive” to people of means. They usually have personal problems that society has failed to address. A study of nearly 50,000 cases revealed that most deal with alcohol or drug abuse, and mental health issues. Legislating against impoverished people is expensive: shelters, emergency rooms, jail cells.
By Brian O’Connell for Business Insider – Your 17-year-old son comes home from his part-time job and says the family car he uses to get to work developed a “clunking” sound underneath the vehicle when he hits the gas pedal. Turns out he hit a pothole, and the left front tire is now damaged beyond repair. OF course, the tire rim may be damaged, too. Total cost of repair: $500. Or, you play flag football on Sunday afternoons, and you break your tibia diving for the end zone. A trip to the hospital emergency room sets the damaged leg, but not before emergency room fees hit $1,000 — and your health insurance plan’s deductible won’t cover the charge.
By Kevin Zeese for Popular Resistance. This Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day weekend there was a call by #BlackLivesMatter to #ReclaimMLK. Events were held all over the country responding to the call and the radical Martin Luther King, jr was brought to people’s hearts; not only the King who expressed his dream on racism, but the King who questioned the unfairness in the US capitalist economy and the long history of a foreign policy dominated by militarism. At the end of his life not only was he speaking clearly on these issues but he was organizing around poverty, planning a Poor People’s March to Washington, DC. This march continued after his death and Resurrection City, an earlier occupation of the city, that focused on poverty and economic issues. The election year of 2016 is an opportunity to push forward a Black Agenda, not by supporting any particular candidate but by pushing all candidates. We must push to make up for the disinvestment and racially unfair treatment of black communities.
By Chris Hedges for Truthdig – If you are poor, you will almost never go to trial—instead you will be forced to accept a plea deal offered by government prosecutors. If you are poor, the word of the police, who are not averse to fabricating or tampering with evidence, manipulating witnesses and planting guns or drugs, will be accepted in a courtroom as if it was the word of God. If you are poor, and especially if you are of color, almost anyone who can verify your innocence will have a police record of some kind and thereby will be invalidated as a witness.
By Nancy Price, for the Alliance for Democracy. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s most revolutionary 1967 speech “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence” marked his movement, from civil rights to a critique of capitalism, a year before he died. Looking “beyond Vietnam,” King questioned a US policy of interventions in foreign countries to defeat not only “Communist tyranny,” but any opposition to the corporate-capitalist system of imperialism and oppression that protects corporate interests and the wealth and power of the ruling classes. “When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people,” he said, “the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.”
By Rev. Osagyefo Sekou for Truthout. Democracy is dead. It has always been an afflicted creature – hobbling about – wounded at its very being. An enslaving disposition corrupted the United States before it matured. Its spiritual death was foretold, but the nation refused to hear the black voices crying out in the wilderness. A year before the racist, materialist and militaristic ax cut King down, he warned the nation of its demise. The now infamous “A Time to Break the Silence” speech at the Riverside Church on April 4, 1967, was a stern warning against the maladies of the American spirit – materialism, racism and militarism. The year between the Riverside speech and his assassination proved to be a radical one. As though he was racing against death’s chariot, King accelerated his critique of the United States and took up more radical tactics.
By Adam Johnson for Alternet – Of the five Republican debates and of the three Democratic debates, not one moderator has askeda question involving the words “poverty” or “poor.” While the subject has been touched upon by some of the Democratic candidates, namely Bernie Sanders and briefly Jim Webb, the topic has been entirely unmentioned by the moderators during the three Democratic debates. In the GOP debates, the candidates only bring up the topic as a way to swipe President Obama, which is fair enough but is not a discussion of poverty much less a good-faith attempt to mitigate it.